Indiana Pacers (26-18)
Denver Nuggets (27-18)
The Indiana Pacers hope to break out of the small funk they’ve entered, and finish up even on this four game road trip. What started out promising in Memphis has fallen into two straight defeats thanks to Portland and Utah. In the Portland game, the Pacers never looked to get going and allowed 100 points, which is something that doesn’t happen often. There were plenty of points in the paint to be had as well. Same story for the Utah game, where the team did rally to go to overtime, but still allowing 114 points is something that doesn’t help the Pacers’ cause on defense. Over these two defeats, it’s been that post area that’s been huge for the two opponents. Allowing 55 points in each contest is way over the average the Pacers usually allow. Therefore, tonight against Denver it’s important to defend that paint like the Pacers have been known to do.
It’s all about the defense of the Pacers this season as they are second in points allowed. They don’t give up 100 points that often, and that’s a good indicator of whether they’ve won or lost a game. Two games over 100 points and two losses. It’s going to take a big effort on that end to slow down the Nuggets who have been averaging 110 points over the past 11 games. This Pacers team just doesn’t score that much, so this game needs to stay under 95 points, if that. I know the Pacers put up 110 in the last game, but that was an overtime session as well. Guess what the Nuggets put up on Saturday? 121 points against the Kings. Yes, the Kings aren’t that good. But 121 points in a game is good.
The Pacers have been so focused on the defensive end, so I think if that bring that effort we’ve seen from them, then this game stays at the pace they want it, and they can pull off some small victory. But if the Nuggets get out and run, then it’s not going to be a pretty game for the Blue and Gold. It’s only a small two game slide, but for such a tight race in the Eastern Conference, tonight would be ideal to get back in the win column.